The Orange County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) has some new equipment that just might save your life. 

In an attempt to stay on the cutting edge with their technology and the protection that they provide the community, the sheriff’s office recently ponied up to buy new state-of-the-art Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs). 

An AED is a device used by first responders to help restore a victim’s heartbeat after enduring cardiac arrest. Though the portable devices have been around since the 1960s, the OCSO has purchased the “latest and greatest” version of devices, and is hoping it will help save even more lives. 

“These AEDs allow us to broaden what it means to protect and serve. Sudden cardiac arrest is the biggest killer out there,” Sheriff Charles Blackwood said. “When you pause and think about that, why wouldn’t you have these in your cars?” 

According to OCSO Public Information Officer Alicia Stemper, while older devices might not be in working condition after enduring hot temperatures in the back of a cruiser, there was no way to know that. These newer devices – the G5 model – are fully automatic and let deputies know when parts need to be changed in order to ensure optimal performance. 

The device is bilingual, and actually verbally walks a user through a potentially life-saving operation.

“First and foremost, it actually tells [the operator] whether or not the victim needs it,” Stemper said. “Then it actually adjusts the amount of energy [that is required by] the patient.” 

When someone goes into cardiac arrest, time is of the essence. According to Rob Williams with Cardiac Science – the man who sold the devices to the OCSO – each minute that goes by after the incident, the chance of survival dips by 10%. 

“I’ve been doing this for 12 years and I’ve personally heard hundreds of stories of people who are walking around today because a deputy or police officer had an AED in their car,” Williams said. “I’m honored to connect with forward-thinking sheriffs and police chiefs across the southeast who think broadly about how they can best serve their communities.” 

The sheriff’s office has obtained 16 new devices and two-to-three devices are in cruisers at all times with patrol units in the county. 

This article appeared in print in our July 3 edition.